Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rachael's Image

A long time ago, I thought writers worked late at night, the Muse singing in their ears, telling them fantastical tales. I thought they wore only expensive black clothes and thick glasses with interesting frames. I thought they attended fabulous soirees where they were the guests of honor, toasted and feted to within an inch of their lives, every night.

You know what the writer's image really is?

The writer's image includes pulling on the black sweatpants that your dad gave you for Christmas five years ago. You laughed then, holding them up, saying, "
When am I ever going to wear something like this?" never believing they would become more beloved to you than your favorite pen. It doesn't matter if they're covered in cat hair, if they haven't been washed in a week, if they sag in the ass -- they are your WRITING pants and anyone who wants to take them from you can peel them from your cold, dead, well-written frame.

It includes the "With Love from Crotch Lake" coffee mug that your friend Alison mailed you from Canada after you protested that no lake could
really be named that, let alone the lake where her family fly-fished every year. Coffee tastes better in that mug. Especially if you forgot to wash it yesterday.

It includes the felted slippers you knitted yourself six years ago, the ones with the holes in the heels. An added pair of Target-purchased acrylic black socks mean that you can get at least another two years out of these suckers.

It includes an unhealthy addiction to Twitter, so sick so that you dedicated your last book to Mac Freedom for tearing you away from the internet when you would have bargained with a man with a gun demanding the same thing.

It includes, instead of the Muse dropping by for a cup of inspiration, a cat throwing up on your keyboard while you're writing the hottest part of the sex scene. In includes your dog barking every time a person has the gall to breathe in front of your house. It includes computer failures, blown printers, and FedEx failing to deliver copyedits that were guaranteed to arrive before you left town.

The real writer's image isn't glamorous. It involves sweat and oily skin and insomnia and stress-related breakouts.

And every once in a while, you get to dress up and drink Scotch and rub elbows with other glamorous-looking people who've been greased into their Spanx just like you have, and you talk writing and laugh and pretend you always look this great, but tomorrow you'll all be grateful to be back in the sweats you laughed at when your dad gave them to you.

8 comments:

Barbara said...

Oh good, I'm not the only one writing who thinks she's doing it "wrong" because she looks like (and smells like) the dog's dinner and isn't on the wine & dine circuit. Hmmph. At least it's comfy here.

Sophie Littlefield said...

oh, i have those sweats! and those slippers (though mine are NOT handmade :(

i am so glad to be part of the nonglamorous divide...

Gigi Pandian said...

I've got my writerly glasses and strong coffee! That's about it.... ;)

Cari said...

I just made a microwave brownie in my own Crotch Lake mug, and am now avoiding writing by reading blogs. Cheers, lady.

Nicole Peeler said...

Can't wait to grease myself into my Spanx and see you in Anaheim! ;-)

L.G.C. Smith said...

Where are your standards, people? I never sit down to write unless I have on heels, full make-up and matching underwear.

Vanessa Kier said...

Yes, comfort is key. After getting home from work, I always have to deconstruct myself before I sit down to write. ;)

Lisa Hughey said...

Wait, you change out of your pajamas to write? *that's* what I've been doing wrong ;)